Cash for Clunkers, although the Obama Administration will hail it as the "savior" of the automobile business, and it did infuse many a dealership with traffic, and paperwork- it was a disaster in the making. Some would have called it "controlled chaos" but, that's anything involving the public on any mass scale, and on another note... That's the car business and politics pure and simple.
But as I read about how junk piles are overstocked with CARS trade-ins, with "C4C" written on the soon-to-be cracked-up windshields, with breakers and recyclers unable to keep-up with the paces of parting, sorting, crushing and shredding- recycling for the betterment of our world; really, there's more garbage to come- Cash for Appliances.
The South Carolina Budget and Control Board's State Energy Office announced this past Thursday that it will use some $3.9 million, their share of $300 million federal stimulus funds for new appliance rebates according to an article written by TheItem.com, a Sumpter, South Carolina-based publication.
The "Energy Efficient Appliance Program" is expected to launch soon (though more official state sites say by Christmas) and will give $50 to $500 in rebates to customers willing to trade-in old appliances for newer, more efficient ones. Sure, more spending and consumership in the name of the environment. After all, it's "green" and it obviously works, right?
In an article written by Annabelle Robertson, a staff writer at The Item, John Clark, Director of the South Carolina Energy Office is quoted as saying "This is a great opportunity for South Carolinians to save money at the store and every month when they open their utility bill;" don't you love it when politicians and State officials get involved in sales? Hey, at least it's a trade for them to fallback on, right?
For small appliance items that can be bought and carried-out of the store, the rebate will be instant. Larger appliances that have to be professionally installed, will have their rebates withheld via an online database until forms are filled-out and mailed back- they'll be tracked electronically.
The idea is to get consumers to buy new, efficient Energy Star(tm) compliant models- which is basically most new appliances, but I stand to be corrected on this. Shit, if my 46" Bravia is- just about anything is these days.
Rebates are based-on cost differences between standard and Energy Star(tm) models, for more on the Energy Star(tm) designation- logon to www.energystar.gov.
South Carolina customers will get rebates from stores who participate in the program and must turn-in their old, inefficient appliances to be recycled.
Yes, there will be more garbage to recycle.
It will be interesting to see if any lessons were learned in the Cash for Clunkers program, and how they will apply to Cash for Appliances. Paperwork backlogs, delays in compensation, etc, etc, could wreak havoc on the appliance store floor- another arena of controlled chaos if you've ever shopped a new household appliance.
Rebates range anywhere from $50 for dishwashers and refrigerators to $100 for clothes washers to up to $500 for a new furnace. For a complete rundown on the South Carolina Cash for Appliances program, logon to www.energy.sc.gov for details.
Since each state will be administering its own program, they're free to select which appliances to include, and the respective rebates to put on them. Also, trading-in old appliances for recycling may or may not be mandatory according to state.
States had until just last week, October 15, 2009 to submit their application for funding and plans to the Department of Energy (DOE), which hopes to have monies available by November 30- just in time for the Christmas shopping season.
So, as Washington hails Cash for Clunkers as the program that "saved the automobile business," putting hundreds of thousands of new "green" vehicles on the road, Cash for Appliances just may very well be "the program that saved Christmas." Just wait- it's coming.
And the real beauty of the program- all those empty refrigerator boxes make great houses for those struggling to make ends meet- as unemployment mounts, soaring past 10% by Christmas, for sure. Makeshift Hoovervilles for the 21st Century- but let's call them Obamatowns.
But the Obama Administration will have to spin that one too. I mean, look at all the low-cost housing they will be creating? Relax, I'm not totally "hating," just a little skeptical, for sure.
That's politics. And that's sales. "You Got It... Obama."